04/05/2013 05:35 pm ET Updated Jun 05, 2013

SHE Is Responsible for the President's Safety

Once again, President Obama has demonstrated his clear confidence in women leaders. He has entrusted the physical safety of his family to a woman. Last week, Julia A. Pierson became the first woman to lead the Secret Service.

With over 30 years of experience in a still male-dominated field, including time as a member of the presidential protection detail of the first George Bush -- a group trained to take a bullet for the Prez -- Julia Pierson should be able to beat back the frat house element of men on the road. She worked her way up the management structure to become Chief of Staff and now Director of the Secret Service. In a recent interview, Ms. Pierson talked about the importance of preparation and close attention to detail in all matters related to a Presidential safety during visits outside the White House. Focus and discipline is what Ms. Pierson will bring.

What we know for sure is that Julia is not going to be protecting the President, Vice President and their families all by herself. She has 3,500 agents to manage and deploy to help get the job done.

How many of us have responsibilities to our families and businesses that require preparation and attention to detail? Almost all of us. And how many times, in our desire to do the best job, do we wish there were more hours in a day or an eighth day of the week? So much to do and so little time!

I've worked on Presidential campaign advance teams alongside Secret Service agents. As the time draws closer to the President's arrival, more agents and tactical teams appear on cue to attend to the mounting details heightening the safety, security and success of the visit.

The only way I know to make better use of the time we have to do all the work we need to do in our businesses and at home is to delegate tasks, jobs and responsibility to others. You've read or heard me say this regularly to business owners, but women keep trying to do it all themselves.

Lo and behold, after recently moving apartments, I, Nell Merlino, Queen of Telling Women to Delegate Responsibility, found myself trying to manage all the details of fitting into a new space and neighborhood by making lists with my husband on weekends, but months later, found the lists in a pile of papers with maybe one item checked off. Somehow, we had reverted to pencil and paper to make lists about jobs, task and orders like we were living in the pre-digital age, even though we were surrounded by a counter full of iPhones, iPads and a Blackberry. I can delegate at work, but needed an intervention at home.

Enter, almost on cue, Moji Alawode-El, the daughter of my college friend Aissatou Bey, who sent me an email about her new business. She had launched a concierge business called Harlem Amenities and wanted to talk to me about marketing her services across New York City.

As Moji described the services she offered, I started making a list of all the things she could help us with at home. In two short months, Moji took care of all the things on that list, including finding a new music system (Sonos) so we could get rid of all our CDs and broken CD player; finding carpeting for our bedroom; repairing and reupholstering old chairs; removing furniture that didn't fit in the new space; and finding structures to store my husband's paintings. I have given gift certificates of Moji's services to busy single mom's who are supporting their families and to friends who travel too much to get anything done on the ground.

Here's some advice on how to delegate from Moji:

The primary benefits of delegating:

  • It eases stress. It literally takes a source of worry away from you and allows you to focus on something else, like work, more intently.
  • It saves you money by either eliminating late fees or keeping you on budget. Think about it: When you go shopping, it's easy to be tempted by other items, but when someone else goes shopping for you, they stick to the list.
  • It gives you more time for yourself. If your weekend to-do list is already done, then guess who has more time to spend with friends and family?
In the end, we are all responsible for the safety and economic security of our families. Julia Pierson is responsible for her family and the family of our elected leader President Obama. Bottom line: Women who want more responsibility, money and power must be willing to delegate responsibility to others at every level of their lives.

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